This was a bit hard to believe until we saw it ourselves on our own iPhones. The new album was released a couple weeks ago now, and however a little floored, we’re also impressed, and very grateful… we are fans after all. But this cravass is a “hard” one to cross.
Generally, the idea of giving away free music as a promotional tactic (and it’s quite required these days) has always been a hefty investment for artists. Even U2, one of the most world renowned bands has suffered certain consequences of this type of endeavor. Aussie papers calling it an epic fail, and according to CNN, Sharon Osbourne is not very happy with the freebie either. So what was the idea behind this, and is giving your music away a good thing?
It seems to be that this is simply a brand partnership. Based on the release by Apple, the U2 album being released for free to over 500 million iTunes customers worldwide is a “big moment in music history”. It seems that they’re missing that this is the same thing that’s been happening to musicians, writers, and producers for years now, with only one difference – people have permission to take it for free this time. But the flip side of this is that there’s been a major lashback… The latest news by Apple is a release of a app that will specifically allow you to DELETE the album in one click!
The idea is a good one
Basically, anytime you can promote, you should. And for whatever the cause. Sometimes it’s for you (as an artist), sometimes something else (non-profit, or relief efforts)… Often you just need to give stuff away to a point where you can get enough “hype” that people will catch on and purchase what you’re selling.
The idea that you should have to give away stuff is a hard one for any artist to swallow – but all artists must do this (even the top selling did, and do) hence, U2 and the iPhone. However, why did U2 choose to do this with iTunes? It’s actually pretty unclear. We haven’t read any statements by U2 – they’ve probably all been removed from the web (please send us a message if you find one).
Was it a good idea? Giving Away Music (Unfortunately) is a Good Idea
In America, in particular, it’s a very good idea to use “free music” as a promotional tactic. It’s one of the best ways to get your music to the ears that need to hear it, and to wider audiences than it might already be. Hell, Tom Petty is giving away his latest release with ticket purchases to shows this tour. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a good one to be aware of early on. We will all give away music at some point to get it into the right hands. It’s kind of like playing every coffee shop you can until you find the one where people seem to be responding to your show. You may only relate to the barista, but it’s worth finding the audience that wants you, because that’s the audience that will keep you around.
In short, the U2 giveaway may have been an #epicfail, but it was also innovative, and to this we tip our hats here at True Source. The best way you can make change, is to make waves. Innovation is very much needed in our day and age to keep things moving progressively in this industry, and all around create a more stable industry for us all to work in. After all, we’ve been riding on the same rules for percentages and rights that were established in 1909. Getting media to people is, and should remain, an ever evolving business.